- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 leek, sliced and washed
- 1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot
- 400g can plum tomatoes in natural juice, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 410g can borlotti or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- Freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan, to serve (optional)
For the salsa verde
- 40g fresh flatleaf parsley
- Dash of red or white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 100ml olive oil
- Put the oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and rosemary and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Season well.
- Add the sliced leeks to the pan and mix it all together. Sauté for a further 5 minutes, until the leeks have softened.
- Add the hot stock to the pan, making sure there’s enough to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, along with the tomato purée and beans. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, until the beans are heated through and all the vegetables are tender. Discard the herb stalks and season to taste.
- Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. Put the parsley, vinegar and garlic into a food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Pour in the olive oil and whizz again. Season to taste. Tip into a bowl and cover until needed.
- Divide the minestrone between 6 bowls. Top each with a spoonful of salsa verde, then swirl into the soup with lots of freshly grated Parmesan, if you like.